A splash of humor, a dash of cynicism, and a twist of skepticism

james poyner

james poyner
Summit, New Jersey,
May 14
A former journalist and stock analyst, I now do custom cabinetry and photography. I also occasionally vent verbally, a throwback to days in the newsroom.


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NOVEMBER 19, 2009 9:21AM

Put on Your Party Hats--It's a Special Day!

Rate: 12 Flag

So I’m sure all you avid OSers know what today is. No, it’s not Rush Lamebaugh’s birthday. It’s the first anniversary of everyone’s favorite post on Open Salon, the post that has been a fixture on the Most Viewed feed for many of the past 365 days. That’s right! Happy birthday, “Pit Bulls in Spamalot”!


“Pit Bulls” was my first post, so I guess it’s also my first anniversary as an OSer. The post has provided reactions from readers that span the gamut, from nutballs who read it way too literally to people who aimed to hitch their wagon to its statistical “popularity” by commenting with an address to their blog sites.


The post was a bit of satire that attempted to outline the economic challenges that the newly elected President would face. But that’s not what makes the piece notorious. For some reason, the post got wedged in the feed and continued to appear in the Most Viewed column week in and week out.


Along with a couple of other posts about sexy men and the like, “Pit Bulls’” perpetual presence prompted cries of protest to the editors to “fix the feed.” All sorts of wild theories abounded about why it would not go quietly into the night. The one that seemed to take hold postulated that the inclusion of the photo of the pit bull drew viewers who were searching Google for articles on pit bulls. (My theory involves mind control on a massive scale by an alien intelligence from a galaxy far, far away.Then again, the piece went up when Sarah "Pit Bull" Palin was still in the media daily, so researchers conceivably could have been hijacked in their searchs to my post. If true, her new book could spike viewership even more!) 


Some OSers even began to write posts about “Pit Bulls”—spoofs, vituperative treatises, even poems. “Pit Bulls” was even mentioned in an early Wikipedia entry about Open Salon, but that entry has apparently been replaced by a dry, three-paragraph piece—probably because contributors recognized they didn’t want to give “Pit Bulls” any more “air time” than it was already getting.


At first, “Pit Bulls” was criticized--in a pretty mean-spirited way, I might add--because it was on the feed with so few rating points or comments. Then, over time, it gathered more, particularly comments. It's a worthwhile exercise to read the comments over time just to get a sense of the change in perception of the piece from a mere post to an icon.


Most amusing were the comments from lovers of pit bulls. These people are not only scary (and mostly illiterate) but they must have been sick on the day the English teacher discussed satire. You see, “Pit Bulls” isn’t really about pit bulls at all. That didn’t keep jay bones from writing: “You’re an idiot in case you didn’t know. While your (sic) well spoken you’re an absolute ignorant imbecile....Ignorant Fucks like you give the breed a bad name by opening your trash can of a mouth with out (sic)  getting your facts straight.” 

Then there’s Josh Fulton, who couldn’t give a hang about pit bulls. He just posts URL’s to his latest posts, hoping to snag an extra viewer or two. Well before his coat-tail coasting, though, were numerous OSers who thought putting “pit bull” or “spamalot” in their tags would garner them greater traffic.  

But the prize for being the most agitated/inspired by “Pit Bulls” clearly goes to zumalicious, who wrote a few posts spoofing at least its title, including the June 10 entry entitled “Quoth the Pit Bull: ‘Spamalot!'”


“Pit Bulls” consistently has ranked in the top 15 of the Most Viewed list for most time periods measured from a few hours to one month. Conservatively, it has garnered more than 250,000 views. That hardly means that 250,000 people have read the piece, but it’s nevertheless weirdly noteworthy.


Some OSers pleaded for me to remove the post, even though they didn't seem to mind the fact that other bloggers had figured out how to vandalize the feed by running nonsensical posts that merely contained pictures of celebrities. But to those who have claimed all sorts of duress caused by the incessant presence of “Pit Bulls,” I can only say that I can’t delete the post.


It now has a mind of its own.


Every time I have moved to hit the “Delete” button, I’ve heard a snarl, as if from a pit bull, warning me of the consequences such an action will incur. And so I can only hope to keep the beast at bay awhile longer with this humble wish:


Happy birthday, “Pit Bulls in Spamalot.”




P.S. To commemorate the occasion, I've finally posted a profile picture from my days as a gay hit man in high school.



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So, you're the guy? I was always afraid to click on the post because I thought I would go through the looking glass and never return. Congratulations on pissing people off for nothing more than writing. I aspire to that one day.
Well, O'Really?, "Pit Bulls" is a bit viral--but I promise if you read it none of your data files will be damaged. Uh, I don't think. Well, maybe not. Perhaps you should put on a necklace of garlic and wear a crucifix just in case....
I didn't click on the link for the longest time because I was afraid what I'd find there, then was pleasantly surprised when I did. Congratulations. Enjoy the bubbly.
Congrats, James

But doesn't this mean "Pit Bulls" is seven years old?
I never bothered to read the thing. I guess I will have to add it to the pile.
P.J.: You may have a point....

Gwool: Actually, you did read it. Yours is the seventh comment. They say nicotine withdrawal affects the memory, compadre.
Congratulations on a dubious but real honor. What about a new viral post about feral cats in Spamalot? Cats are usually overlooked.
ROFL, you are so funny ;D good for you!!
you have a great perspective! Congratulations
Happy Anniversary! And what a great story...I had no idea. You are an excellent writer and this post is proof of that. I'm so glad that you were warned away from deleting the post. That would be craziness. It's a great Internet story, one that should be read by many.
Aaaaahhhh, now I see. Wow, what a weird claim to fame. But grab it when you can, I say. Congrats :)
Stellaa: Thanks for dropping by. As for all the "juices" "Pit Bulls" generated, it was getting pretty messy there for awhile.

Kathy: I think the moral is: You can't always judge a post by its title, particularly in my case.

Lea: Great to hear from you. You read my mind. I've been pondering one called "Persian Cats in Velveeta Land."

hyblaean-Julie: Thanks for joining the celebration.

Ariana: Glad you enjoyed the piece. Here's to a second anniversary for "Pitbulls."
I haven't read it yet, but I'm getting around to it..........really I am. Honest!
Oh, I was led here by true deviousness! But, my post is mentioned, so it's about me me me (an OS kaballah chant and group norm).

Happy anniversary to my favorite torture not going away post and to the genius behind it!
Oh, and if you ever delete it, I'm coming to get you!
So that was what it was all about. NOW I get it and well maybe now I'll sit and read it. Happy Versary!!!
marytkelly: Thanks for the kudos. Gotta run, some spam is burning on the stove!

Lainey: Warhol said everyone is entitled to at least 15 minutes of fame. Thanks for dropping by.

Michael: Read it soon; it's only gotten better with age. Don't miss the comments--they're the best thing about the post.

zumalicious: So when can we expect your next "Pit Bulls" parody?

Lunchlady2: It reads better when you're eating a spam sammich.